One of our goals with äventyr is to share our experiences not as personal aggrandizement, but to hopefully inspire, educate, and remove barriers. Having just returned from an off-the-grid äventyr to the Black Hills National Forest in Wyoming and South Dakota, we wanted to do just that. So we will be sharing a few posts from our travels.
Next up: Campbiking.
Camp äventyr. Solrig hanging out after our return from a gravel ride. DeAnn's Trek Crockett with her Essential bag on the handlebar [in testing development sample].
There is a lot of talk, instagramming, and marketing about Bikepacking the last few years, but you will never hear me talking about it in the context of ‘I do that’ or ‘I want to do that’. In fact, the whole bikepacking craze is what actually helped push äventyr into existence. When I needed a bag for my bicycle to ride around my neighborhood and started looking around, I would say about 90% of the bags in bike shops were for bikepacking. And to be honest, it pissed me off.
Camp äventyr. Crook County, Wyoming, 2019.
At 48 years old I’m not closed off to new ideas (more on that in the next post), but I do have a great sense of self-realization and understanding of what makes an experience enjoyable for me. I have a hard enough time carrying myself around on a bike with a few essential items for a ride. Not only do I not want to carry my camping and biking gear on my bike to a campsite, I simply don’t want to camp in a tent and sleep on the ground anymore - especially in bear country.
So I think a productive conversation for the rest of us out there who enjoy camping, and biking, should be about Campbiking.
äventyr lifestyle. This is how our life pretty much looks at 5 o'clock anywhere...
At äventyr we completely agree with this quote from Seth Godin: “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don't need to escape from.” In fact we say something similar: “Life is not a vacation, but we sure try to make everyday feel as much like one as we can.” We cycle in our daily life, and are now cycling on vacation. Perhaps to some of you that may seem like a complicated and overwhelming concept, but we do not think it needs to be. And although I don’t want to sleep on the ground anymore, if you do there are still things to be gained from this conversation.
Team äventyr hiking in the Black Hills National Forest.
So let’s talk about our Campbiking. Specifically, what has helped us as cyclists have successful camping and biking vacations.
Bicycles set up for YOUR cycling adventure:
Never go on vacation with a bike that needs servicing. Be sure to bring your bike in to your local shop, let them know what you are planning to do with your bike, and have it tuned and set up to optimize the conditions you will be riding in.
I am lucky to have Kurt, who in partnership with our bike shop of choice, gets my bikes set up for the rider I am and the conditions I am going to be riding in. Kurt loves to put together the puzzle of the optimal bike, and I just want to have a successful ride, we make a good team. But if you don’t have a ‘Kurt’, work with your local bike shop. Never, ever, ever, pull a bicycle out of your garage you haven’t ridden in years and throw it in your car and think you are going to have fun, you are more likely setting yourself up for disappointment. Trust us on this one.
An äventyr kind of day.
The right set up for YOUR camping adventure:
A few years ago for a number of reasons, we purchased an Airstream Basecamp - The Silverhytten. Despite some manufacturing quality issues we have been frustrated with, we have to say this was THE BEST camper for the way we live. The Basecamp is compact and built to travel off-the-beaten path.
The äventyr Silverhytten on the way to gravel camp.
We have lived for weeks at a time completely off-the-grid in The Silverhytten. This latest trip we were ten miles down a gravel road, with no signal, completely self supported with our own electricity from our solar panels, our own water, and our own food. And although we love all that, we would never claim that we don't enjoy glamping; having our own little boutique hotel with us has been a game changer. We have a safe space with solid walls and a roof (especially great the last couple years with so much rain on our trips), a kitchen, a toilet, and a SHOWER (not to be used for long luxurious soaks when you are carrying your own water, but SO GREAT to have to gently cleanse in after a ride ~ especially a gravel one).
Yup, sometimes it rains. Be prepared for those eventualities. Pictured here, DeAnn's Essential [Development Sample in testing] at the end of a gravel ride where it started to rain.
And this Summer we purchased a new screen tent that sets up in literally seconds (except for us the first time, but that's another story). When we were up at the Borah Epic, although we brought my bike with, it was unbelievably buggy and we had no place to set up my bike so I could ride it (we have to take the handlebars off, and a few other things to fit in our SUV for travel), so we couldn't ride together. We immediately bought a screen tent after that trip; it not only saves us from bugs, but on this particular day when it started POURING at the very end of our ride, we quickly ducked in here and dropped our bikes until the rain stopped. (And yes, that is our new bag (The Essential handlebar bag), and it does have water resistant fabric on the interior and exterior).
DeAnn's Essential contents on a gravel ride
The right preparation for YOU as a cyclist:
By this we mean, bring the right cycling gear. Have a list for yourself well before you pack so you don’t forget things (trust us on that one...). It might be cold, it might be hot, it might rain, bring the right gear to be comfortable in those conditions.
We also mean, bring your own food. We eat healthy at home and have learned that a considerable amount of meal prep before the trip pays off in how we feel on our trip. I pre-make healthy and filling breakfasts so we don’t get hangry out on our rides. I make healthy packable snack foods instead of buying bars at a store. And we bring our first few days of lunches and dinners so we are eating food we know our stomachs will like so we aren’t feeling funky and having a bad travel experience in general (on or off the bikes). Particularly, we bring our own lunches for those long travel days on the road getting to where we are going; no fast food stops for this duo.
Having Fun in The Badlands. A LOT of fun...
Don’t be overly ambitious. HAVE FUN!:
We tend to keep our rides around an hour on vacation because we also want to relax on our trips, and have dogs we need to be with. Although biking all day might be fun, it’s just not realistic for our camping lifestyle.
DeAnn, carrying The Essential in Nautical Red, with Inge & Solrig at her side in the parking lot (where dogs are allowed) at Bears Lodge, Wyoming.
Yes, we know beer is not really health food. But Camp äventyr Happy Hour is non-negotiable.
My Crockett (aka äventyr 2). Gravel ride break Crook County Wyoming, 2019. Definitely NOT "Blah 33" :).
And about that Campbiking bag?...
Turns out the bag I never intended to make for myself has become my new favorite Campbiking bag. Our latest bag releasing this month, The Essential, was the perfect bag on our trip. I used it for biking (both road and gravel), for walking the dogs, and as my general ‘being a tourist’ bag on our trip. My bike and my person don’t need to carry as much when I’ve got a camper to carry the load for me, so The Essential was the perfect bag to… carry the essentials! A biased report: I LOVE this bag!!! I believe it is the most versatile and functional bag we have made to date. I am SO glad I made it!!! I think you will be too. ~DeAnn